Laphroaig Triple Wood

So what do you do when you want to beat a competitor’s vast success with Double Wood? Simple. Triple Wood! (Although Auchentoshan beat them to it). In this case, a reasonable vatting of standard ex-bourbon Laphroaig, Laphroaig Quarter-Cask (does that really count as a separate ‘wood’?), and ex- oloroso sherry casks.

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Exclusive Malts: Laphroaig (8 year) 2005-2013

I received a sample of the Exclusive Malts single-cask bottling of Laphroaig, distilled 2005/bottled 2013, by the distributor ImpEx Beverages (Thanks Katia!). It’s a single-cask Laphroaig bottled at 55.9% ABV. As usual with single-casks from independents, I’m looking for two very specific things…

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Laphroaig (10 year) Cask Strength

This is the full cask strength version of Laphroaig’s flagship 10-year. At 57.8% ABV and not chill-filtered, this is essentially the standard 10-year minus water, and without the chill-filtration. That means there’s nothing between you and the raw fury of Laphroaig peat. Beware!

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Kilchoman 2007 Vintage

Young Kilchoman is, on the whole, just so damn well made. This bottling, the 2007 vintage at 46% ABV, is a vatting of 6 year-old barrels, all from ex-bourbon casks.

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Kilchoman 100% Islay 3rd Edition

For the third time, Kilchoman has released a bottling of whisky made 100% from barley grown, malted, distilled, and bottled on the distillery property. That’s huge! Talk about “farm to table” – this is “farm to bottle”, and it really shines.

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Bowmore 10 “Devil’s Cask”

This is totally unlike the ‘Darkest’ 15-year, and in fact tastes much older and more concentrated. Instead of the wild, fungal brashness of Darkest, the flavors here are muted but sinewy, slow-moving but powerful.

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Bowmore 15 “Darkest”

When you think about sherry and peat, you generally think about Highland Park, with its light tickle of citrusy Orkney peat and gently sweet, fruity sherry. This is the opposite of both of those aspects. The sherry is resinous and funky, the peat muddy and vegetative.

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Caol Ila (12 year)

The nose is a little off-putting for me, even though I enjoy peat. The muddiness and earthy quality of the peat seems “lower quality” to me than the peat of other Islay distilleries. However, that all changes on the tongue, where the peat gives way to a very tasty chocolate note.

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Bruichladdich (10 year) – The Laddie Ten

With barley grown in Scotland, distilled and aged under Jim McEwan’s watchful eye, and bottled at a laudable 46% ABV without chill-filtration or added coloring, it was bound to make a big splash. It ticks all of the boxes for me: independent ownership, responsible quality-minded production, craft presentation, and all with medium levels of peat to better showcase the character of the spirit and the quality of the wood.

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Black Bottle Blended Scotch

Black Bottle tends to win a lot of awards and has quite a following, even among malt-heads. Oh, here’s the kicker: the bottle’s about $20 in the US. … Either way, I’m calling it a “Must Have” because you can’t find a better peated blend – or almost any blend, for that matter – for this price.

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